While Fascist Italy under Mussolini sought to control its people and implement a new united world of ideas and ways of life in Italy, it did not succeed. Bosworth’s article, “Everyday Mussolinism: Friends, Family, Locality and Violence in Fascist Italy” demonstrated the disunity and corruption under Fascist rule.1 Bosworth cited numerous examples of Fascist leaders who corrupted the system. They reverted to the well known political practices. They appeared almost like American gangsters from the same era. Most of the men who were sent to exile used violence, threats, and terror to control their regions and gain desired power.
There was an interesting parallel in Fascist Italy to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. In the opening story, a group of men were reported singing a communist song while in a drunken state.2 As in Nazi Germany, there was a fear of communism and those who held communist beliefs. Also, as in both other regimes, citizens denounced one another for undesired behavior. Yet, did this protect Italians from themselves being denounced, as it did initially in the Soviet Union? Or did it backfire as during the Great Terror?
Another parallel to the Soviet Union and Germany was the punishment of those deemed unproductive, that drained the economy. The drunken communist was denounced as lazy and an alcoholic.3 This added to peoples dislike for him, and he was sentenced to a common punishment, exile. Although most leading Fascist officials who were sentenced to long terms of exile had the sentences overturned after just a few months. Was this due to other Fascists condoning their behavior?
1. R.J.B. Bosworth, “Everyday Mussolinism: Friends, Family, Locality and Violence in Fascist Italy”, Contemporary European History, 14 (2005) 23-43.
2. Bosworth, “Everyday Mussolinism”, 23-24.
3. Bosworth, “Everyday Mussolinism”, 24.
I agree that many parallels were found in Bosworth’s opening story between the three regimes that we have discussed in class. One parallel that I would note that is important is the notion that those who are deemed as “enemies of the state” are those who are “useless.” In regards to Boccaccio’s place in society, Bosworth states that the Fascist police considered him to be “‘poco amante del lavoro ed e dedito al vino’ (no lover of work and much given to wine)” (24). This is a common thread between all three regimes, in which we see the importance of the collective, rather than the individual. Clearly, Boccaccio was not dutiful towards the Italian Fascist state and the collective Italian population, and he was therefore punished for his misdemeanor as a father, worker, and man above all. In regards to most people who were punished and charged of committing crimes, but had their sentences overturned eventually soon afterwards, I would say that it has to do with the degree of resistance in Fascist Italy. Would you argue that there was more resistance in Italy, and therefore this resistance limited the Italian state from projecting its power with the use of surveillance and terror to a similar degree as Nazi Germany and Stalinist Soviet Union?